Swimming Australia issues unreserved apology after independent investigation

Swimming Australia issues unreserved apology after independent investigation reveals startling findings

Swimming Australia has responded to the Independent Panel’s Report into the experiences of women and girls in the sport, which has insinuated a history of toxic culture and mistreatment towards female athletes.

The six month internal review was prompted after a series of allegations of misconduct, with the most prominent case being Aussie swimmer Maddie Groves speaking out about her alleged abuse, as well as the misogynistic culture within the sport.

“We want to reassure those who came forward that the sport is committed to change to ensure these negative experiences are not repeated and apologise unreservedly to those impacted,” the statement reads.

There were more than 150 participants involved in the investigation, including former and current athletes, parents, coaches and administrators. While the full report will remain confidential to protect the anonymity of those involved, Swimming Australia has released the entire list of 46 recommendations made by the independent panel. 

Some key recommendations include calls to improve gender balance in coaching, introducing quotas for women coaches on national and international teams. 

“It commits to never again selecting an all-male team of national and international competitions and ensures that a minimum number of women coaches are included, such as two out of four,” the media release revealed.

The report has also proposed for banning skin-fold tests, as well as terms such as “physique”, which sees over-valuing body shape and size as damaging and consequential.

Other recommendations include Swimming Australia to proritise behavioural standards over a coaches performance standards, placing athlete welfare the primary driver of coach selection.

Swimming Australia President Kieren Perkins responded himself, reaffirming steadfast commitment to enact genuine change.

“The Swimming Australia Board acknowledges the ultimate collective responsibility and commitment in addressing these recommendations rests with the Board and the Executive Team in delivering and committing to meaningful and enduring change, being transparent and regaining and earning the trust of our athletes and our entire community,” Perkins said.

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